What are the grounds for divorce in Georgia?
Divorce affects, directly or indirectly, virtually every family in the country. This video is designed to briefly summarize Georgia’s divorce laws as to the grounds or reasons a Georgia divorce court must hear to dissolve a marriage.
Marriage is a civil contract that the state has an interest in preserving. Accordingly, the marriage relationship may be dissolved only as provided by law through (1) a divorce or (2) an annulment; or altered by (3) a decree of separate maintenance granted by our courts. In any case, there must be a proceeding in the superior court of the county in which the defendant resides (or the county where the parties resided during the marriage if the defendant left the county within six months before filing) and the person seeking the divorce must prove grounds for divorce (valid reasons prescribed by law).
What are the grounds for divorce in Georgia?
In Georgia there are 13 grounds for divorce. One ground is that the marriage is “irretrievably broken” (sometimes referred to as the no-fault ground). The other 12 grounds for divorce in Georgia are fault grounds.
What is a no-fault divorce?
To obtain a divorce on this basis (irretrievably broken), one party must establish that he or she refuses to live with the other spouse and that there is no hope of reconciliation. It is not necessary for both parties to agree the marriage is irretrievably broken. Also, it is not necessary to show that there was any fault or wrongdoing by either party.
What are the fault grounds?
To obtain a divorce on one of the 12 fault grounds, one must prove that there was some wrongdoing by one of the parties to the marriage.
As an example, one fault ground is adultery. Adultery in Georgia includes heterosexual and homosexual relations between one spouse and another individual.
Another fault ground for divorce in Georgia is desertion. A divorce may be granted on the grounds that a person has deserted his or her spouse willfully for at least one year. Other fault grounds include mental or physical abuse, marriage between persons who are too closely related, mental incapacity at the time of marriage, impotency at the time of marriage, force or fraud in obtaining the marriage, pregnancy of the wife unknown to the husband at the time of the marriage, conviction and imprisonment for certain crimes, habitual intoxication or drug addiction and mental illness.
SOURCE: State Bar of Georgia
This 8-point checklist can help determine whether your estate plan needs help.
National Estate Planning Awareness Week takes place this month (Oct. 20-26) and will highlight the fact that more than 120 million Americans do not have proper estate plans in place.
An estate plan, properly executed, can protect you as well as your family in the event of sickness, accidents or untimely death. With just a little advanced planning, you can help your family avoid wasted dollars and unnecessary hardship.
Even if you have an estate plan in place, it should be reviewed on a regular basis. Congress, state legislatures and the courts are constantly changing the estate-planning rulebook. In fact, there have been several major estate and income tax law changes in recent years. Depending on your circumstances, an out-of-date estate plan might be missing valuable planning opportunities and could cost your family dearly in extra taxes and administration costs.
Do you have an estate plan in place? Is it covering all your bases? Take a look at the checklist below. If you can answer “no” or “I don’t know” to any of the following, you should set up an appointment with your local metro Atlanta estate planning attorney as soon as possible.
- Do you have a will or trust in place? If so, has it been professionally reviewed within the last two years?
- Does your current health care power of attorney permit the person of your choosing (spouse, child, family) to make emergency health care decisions for you in the event you are unable to do so?
- Are you certain that your current estate plan will minimize possible state and federal estate taxes at your death, including taxes on your house, life insurance and IRAs?
- Have you taken steps to avoid possible will contests and disputes during the administration of your estate?
- Are you satisfied with the persons you’ve named as guardians of your minor children in your current estate plan?
- Does your current estate plan provide creditor and lawsuit protection for assets passed to your surviving spouse and/or children?
- If you have a revocable living trust in place as part of your estate plan, is your trust fully funded so your family can avoid the delays and expenses of probate? (Probate is the court process by which a will or trust is deemed valid or invalid. The legal fees and other expenses involved when an estate goes through probate are deducted from the value of the estate.)
- Does your estate plan protect your children’s inheritance in the event your surviving spouse chooses to remarry?
Again, if you can answer “no” or “I don’t know” to any of these questions, contact us to talk about your needs. Call us at 770-425-6060 or use the contact form here